The study, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, was carried out by a team of researchers led by Devon D. Brewer, director of the research firm Interdisciplinary Scientific Research. “Our findings are unexpected, because previous studies of youth indicated that arrest had no effect on, or even in creased, their delinquent and criminal behavior,” Brewer said.
The researchers analyzed police records of clients, or “johns”, arrested for prostitution in Colorado Springs, USA, and information on clients who sought HIV testing at the local health department or were involved in a large health department study of prostitutes and their sex partners. Arrested clients were usually caught in stings where female police officers posed as prostitutes in high-prostitution areas, and nearly all arrested clients were convicted. Clients first identified by arrest were similar to those first identified by the health department in terms of their demographic characteristics and prostitution activity. The researchers also examined records from several states in the USA and found that clients, after being arrested, did not appear to seek prostitutes in other communities or prostitutes who work in off-street settings.
These results suggest that simply arresting and prosecuting clients of prostitutes may be enough of a deterrent that additional interventions, such as sending clients to ‘john schools’ or educational programs that emphasize the harms of prostitution, may be unnecessary to lower recidivism,” Brewer noted. “However, because only a very small percentage of clients in a community are arrested, other strategies and increased enforcement may be necessary to reduce the demand for prostitution further.”
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